Mica Levi

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Mica Levi
Mica Levi at the 2014 Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz
Mica Levi at the 2014 Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz
Background information
BornFebruary 1987[1]
Surrey, England
Years active2006–present

Mica Levi (/ˈmkə ˈlvi/; b. February 1987), also known by their stage name Micachu, is an English singer, songwriter, composer and producer.[2] Levi is classically trained and since 2008 has released experimental pop music with their band Good Sad Happy Bad (formerly Micachu and the Shapes), including the critically praised debut album Jewellery in 2009.

In 2014, Levi branched out into film composing, creating the score for the Jonathan Glazer film Under the Skin. Their work was widely praised[3][4][5] and Levi received a European Film Award for Best Composer and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music nomination. Their score for Pablo Larraín's Jackie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.[6]

Early life[edit]

Levi was born and raised in Surrey, England.[7][8] and studied at the Purcell School for Young Musicians from the age of nine.[9] Their father is a visiting professor of music at Royal Holloway, University of London, and their mother teaches cello.[10][11] Their paternal grandmother is Romanian.[8] Levi started writing and playing music at the age of four.


Levi moved to London in their teens and performed as a DJ and released a mixtape titled Filthy Friends, which was posted on their official Myspace page.[12] For Filthy Friends they enlisted the help of friends and musicians of various backgrounds including MCs Baker Trouble, Brother May, Man Like Me & Ghostpoet,[13] singer-songwriter Jack Peñate, jazz band Troyka, London pop-band Golden Silvers as well as producers Kwes and Toddla T. Following its release, Filthy Friends became sought after on the London club scene.

While a student at Guildhall, Levi was commissioned to write an orchestral piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra which was performed at the Royal Festival Hall in April 2008.[14]

Performing in New York City, October 2008

Levi was an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010.[15]

Levi co-wrote and produced Tirzah's I'm Not Dancing EP, which was released by Greco-Roman Records in August 2013, to critical acclaim.[16]

Levi contributed to the soundtrack for Phil Collins' Ceremony at Manchester International Festival 2017.[17]

The Shapes / Good Sad Happy Bad[edit]

Levi formed a band called Micachu and the Shapes, which included Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums. They signed to Accidental Records. With the Shapes, Levi's focus was experimental pop music. Most of the music prominently featured an acoustic half-guitar with various non-standard tunings, extensive distortion, and use of noise and found-object elements, as well as occasionally unusual time signatures. Despite these experimental leanings, the artist categorizes their output with the Shapes as "pop music."

Their debut album, Jewellery, produced with electronic musician Matthew Herbert, was recorded around Levi's composition studies at Guildhall School. In the wake of growing buzz, Micachu and the Shapes were signed to Rough Trade,[18] which released Jewellery on 9 March 2009 to critical praise. The band performed with the London Sinfonietta at Kings Place, London, in May 2010, and in March 2011 released the live recording as the album Chopped and Screwed.[19] The follow-up to their debut, Never, was released on 23 July 2012. The band then released the album Good Sad Happy Bad on 11 September 2015.[20][21]

In March 2016, the band announced on social media that they were changing their name to Good Sad Happy Bad.[22][23] The band then expanded to a four-piece, adding multi-instrumentalist and producer CJ Calderwood and Raisa Khan becoming the band's lead vocalist.

Film scores[edit]

Levi's first major film score was for Jonathan Glazer's 2014 film Under the Skin.[24] The film is based on the novel of the same name by Michel Faber and stars Scarlett Johansson. Produced at age 26 and created in collaboration with Glazer, Levi's film score themes are so tightly woven into the film[25] that they give a symbiotic quality, in which the aural feels inseparable from the visual.[26] The score was widely acclaimed for pushing the boundaries of music and sound design and Levi was nominated for multiple awards. They won Best Composer at the 2014 European Film Awards,[27] and tied with Jonny Greenwood for Best Music/Score at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards.[28] They were also nominated for the 2015 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.[29]

In 2016, Levi completed their second major film score, for Pablo Larraín's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic Jackie.[30] Larraín had been a juror at the 2013 Venice Film Festival, and thought that Under the Skin deserved a film score prize. Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, also on the jury, was enthralled by Levi's bold score for the film, and he and Larraín spoke passionately of their accomplishment,[26] which led to the collaboration on Jackie. Levi was nominated for Best Original Score at the 89th Academy Awards, making them the fifth non-male nominated in the category,[31] but lost to Justin Hurwitz for La La Land.

Levi's third major film score was for the 2017 science-fiction film Marjorie Prime and their fourth was for the 2019 film Monos. In December 2019, it was announced they would be writing the score for the dark-comedy thriller film Zola.

In 2020 Levi composed the score for Mangrove, the first, feature-length episode of Steve McQueen's Small Axe series for the BBC/Amazon.[32]

Personal life[edit]

In December 2020, Levi came out as non-binary.[33]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details
2009 Jewellery
2012 Never (with the Shapes)[34]
  • Release date: 23 July 2012
  • Label: Rough Trade
2014 Under the Skin (OST)[35]
  • Release date: 17 March 2014
  • Label: Milan, Rough Trade
2015 Good Sad Happy Bad (with the Shapes)
  • Release date: 11 September 2015
  • Label: Rough Trade
2016 Remain Calm (with Oliver Coates)
  • Release date: 25 November 2016
  • Label: Slip
2016 Jackie (OST)
  • Release date: 16 December 2016
  • Label: Milan
2018 Slow Dark Green Murky Waterfall (with Eliza McCarthy)
  • Release date: 24 October 2018
  • Label: Slip
2019 Monos (OST)
2020 Shades (with Good Sad Happy Bad)
  • Release date: 16 October 2020
  • Label: Textile Records
2020 Ruff Dog
  • Release date: 16 December 2020[36]
  • Self-released
2021 Blue Alibi
  • Release date: 27 January 2021
  • Self-released
2021 Zola (OST)
  • Release date: 1 July 2021
  • Label: Invada

Live albums[edit]

Year Album details
2011 Chopped and Screwed (with the Shapes and the London Sinfonietta)
  • Release date: 23 March 2011 (Australia), 28 March 2011 (Rest of world)
  • Label: Remote Control, Rough Trade


Year Mixtape details
2009 Filthy Friends
  • Released: 9 February 2009
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, Digital download
2010 Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.1 with Kwes.
  • Released: 5 June 2009
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download
2011 Meat Batch with Kwake Bass
  • Released: 22 March 2011
  • Label: For BTS Radio
  • Formats: Digital download
Chopped & Screwed Mixtape with Brother May
  • Released: 2011
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Digital download
2012 Kwesachu Vol. 2 with Kwes.
  • Released: 30 April 2012
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download
2014 Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill
  • Released: 27 November 2014
  • Label: Self-released (Demdike Stare Self-Released)
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download

Singles / EPs[edit]

  • "Golden Phone" (2008)
  • "Lips" (2009)
  • "Turn Me Well" (2009)
  • "I'm Not Dancing" (2013) (with Tirzah)
  • "No Romance" (2014) (with Tirzah)
  • "Thinking of You" (2015) (with Nozinja, Tirzah and Mumdance)
  • "Make It Up" (2015) (with Tirzah)
  • "Taz and May Vids" (2016) (with Tirzah and Brother May)
  • "Looking Up at the Sun / Mash One" (2016) (with Good Sad Happy Bad)
  • "Clothes Wear Me" (2016) (with KEVIN)
  • "Delete Beach" (2017)
  • "Obviously" (2018) (with Tirzah as Taz & Meeks)
  • "Skunk Boy." (2022)


Year Artist Title Album Label Credit
2021 Arca "Muñecas" Kick II (LP) XL Co-production with Arca
Tirzah all tracks Colourgrade (LP) Domino Production, co-mixing with Kwes
2019 Wiki 'Dame Aquí (feat. Princess Nokia)' Oofie (LP) Wikset Co-production with Alex Epton, Rob Mack and Tony Seltzer
2019 Mica Levi all tracks Monos (OST, LP) Invada, Lakeshore Composer, production
2019 Brother May all tracks Aura Type Orange (LP) self-released Production on all tracks; co-production on 'Reppin' with Rob McCormack and 'Backpack Melody' with Coby Sey
2018 Tirzah all tracks Devotion (LP) Domino Production, co-mixing with Kwes
2018 Taz & Meeks 'Obviously' Taz & Meeks / Brother May / Coby Sey (Compilation EP); Curl Compilation (Compilation LP) Curl Production
2017 Mica Levi all tracks Delete Beach (Single) DDS Production
2016 Mica Levi all tracks Jackie (OST, LP) Milan Composer, production
2016 Mica Levi & Oliver Coates all tracks Remain Calm (LP) Slip co-production with Oliver Coates
2016 Good Sad Happy Bad all tracks Mash One / Looking Up at the Sun (Single) self-released co-production as part of Good Sad Happy Bad
2016 Brother May all tracks May & Meeks (EP) Curl Production on all tracks, mixing
2016 Micachu all tracks Taz & May Vids (EP) DDS Production on all tracks, mixing
2015 Wiki 'Cherry Tree' Lil Me (Mixtape) Letter Racer Co-production with Sporting Life
2015 Tirzah all tracks Make It Up (Single) Greco Roman Production
2014 DELS 'RGB' Petals Have Fallen (LP) Big Dada Production
2014 Micachu all tracks Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill (Mixtape) DDS Composer, production
2014 Micachu and the Shapes all tracks Good Sad Happy Bad (LP) Rough Trade co-production as part of Micachu and the Shapes
2014 Tirzah all tracks No Romance (EP) Greco Roman Production
2014 Mica Levi all tracks Under the Skin (OST, LP) Rough Trade, Milan Production
2013 Tirzah all tracks I'm Not Dancing (EP) Greco Roman Production
2012 Micachu and the Shapes all tracks Never (LP) Rough Trade co-production as part of Micachu and the Shapes
2012 Kwesachu all tracks Kwesachu Vol. 2 (Mixtape) self-released Production with Kwes
2011 DELS 'Violina', 'Melting Patterns' Gob (LP) Big Dada Production
2011 Micachu hosted by Brother May all tracks Chopped & Screwed Mixtape (Mixtape) self-released Production
2011 Micachu & Kwake Bass all tracks Meat Batch (Mixtape) BTS Radio Production
2010 Micachu & the Shapes with the London Sinfonietta all tracks Chopped & Screwed (LP) Remote Control and Rough Trade co-production as part of Micachu and the Shapes
2009 Kwesachu most tracks including 'Closer (cover of Ne-Yo's song) ft. Romy of The xx' Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.1 (Mixtape) self-released Production with Kwes
2009 Micachu and the Shapes all tracks Jewellery (LP) Rough Trade co-production as part of Micachu and the Shapes w/ Matthew Herbert
2009 Micachu most tracks Filthy Friends (Mixtape) self-released Production

As featured artist[edit]

  • Speech Debelle - "Better Days" (2009)
  • Babyfather - "God Hour" (2016)
  • Arca - "Think Of" and "Baby Doll" (2016)
  • Mount Kimbie - "Marilyn" (2017)
  • Stubborn - Mid (2020)
  • Bar Italia - letting go makes it stay (2021)

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Awards Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2013 British Independent Film Awards Best Technical Achievement Under the Skin Nominated [37]
2014 British Academy Film Awards Best Original Music Nominated [38]
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Original Score Won [39]
European Film Awards Best Composer Won [40]
London Film Critics Circle Awards Technical Achievement Award Won [41]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Original Score Won [42]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Original Score Won [43]
2015 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Best Film Score Nominated [44]
2016 Academy Awards Best Original Score Jackie Nominated [45]
Austin Film Critics Association Awards Best Score Nominated [46]
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Use of Music in a Film Won [47]
British Academy Film Awards Best Original Music Nominated [48]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Original Score Won [49]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Score Nominated [50]
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Musical Score 2nd Place [51]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Score – Feature Film Nominated [52]
Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Score Nominated [53]
London Film Critics Circle Awards Technical Achievement Award Nominated [54]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Music Runner-up [55]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Score Nominated [56]
2020 Platino Awards Best Original Score Monos Nominated [57]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Music Lovers Rock Runner-up [58]


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External links[edit]